This latest development in the ongoing Brexit saga in a serious ‘plus’ in the so-called ‘Remoaners’ column. The Lord Chief Justice’s decision to have parliament be involved with the process of Britain leaving the EU poses a dilemma for Theresa May’s plans.
Following the ruling, any action taken with regards Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty must go through parliament. It is as yet unclear whether this will be a simple vote among MP’s, or if the Prime Minister will have to pass a bill through both the Houses of Commons and Lords.
If it is the former, then this may only be a minor pothole in the road to #Brexit. Were a vote in the House of Commons the only obstacle to arise from this ruling then Mrs May won’t be too concerned. It is unlikely that a majority of MP’s would vote to delay Brexit. While many posited support for the remain campaign, having lost the referendum any that act against the outcome would be committing political suicide.
On the flip side, were the latter of the two possibilities to occur, then the #Government will have to pull over and do some serious work under the bonnet. Passing legislature through parliament is a notoriously laborious task. Moreover, despite the House of Commons being unlikely to oppose Brexit, the majority of peers in the House of Lords display a considerable propensity for delaying the process and are free from public scrutiny.
The likelyhood of an early general election has increased considerably as government will seek to turn to the public should they not receive the mandate they want from parliament to proceed with Britain leaving the EU sooner rather than later.
The government has of course appealed the decision. Given the weight of the subject matter Mrs May will almost certainly be granted a hearing for this appeal before the Supreme Court, which would be able to overturn the ruling.
Theresa May had planned to fire off Article 50 by March 2017, but should her appeal fail this will become nigh-on impossible, no matter how parliaments involvement with process manifests itself.
The coming weeks promise to be a particularly gusty period in an already tumultuous political storm.